The Institute conducts three main programs. An annual week long Summer School for college and graduate students; an annual Scholar’s Conference for academics and other thoughtful people; and Jefferson Seminars which are locally sponsored seminars of no more than 25 to explore a topic of interest to the public and to recover the Jeffesonian ideal of leaning through humane conversation.
PROGRAMS. (1) Summer School: an annual summer school for undergraduate and graduate students. The summer school is held at different locations in the South. (2 ) Scholars' Conference: an annual scholar's conference where Institute faculty, and invited scholars, meet to present papers for criticism and to discuss plans for advancing the academic goals of the Institute in respect to research, publication, and teaching. (3) Jefferson Seminars: Thomas Jefferson is an icon of the Southern tradition, thoroughly rooted in his regional culture, but with a speculative mind eager to explore every area of learning. A Jefferson Seminar is usually a one day affair, designed to provide the public with an opportunity to explore serious topics in a convivial setting. Jefferson was not a great public speaker, but he was a master of the eighteenth century art of conversation. We seek to revive that tradition of conversation in the Jefferson seminars. These are arranged by local supporters and associations and are kept small, in the range of 10 to 25 participants.